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Luke is on his way back after tough year

Newbury ace has opened up about struggles with anxiety problems

Liam Headd

Liam Headd

liam.headd@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886629

Luke is on his way back after tough year

PIC: LAWRENCE LUSTIG/PDC

NEWBURY darts player Luke Humphries believes opening up about his mental health problems has helped his recent results and performances.

Earlier this year, the 24-year-old spoke out about how he suffers from anxiety and mental health and that it was affecting his game.

But having reached out for support, Humphries believes he is now in a better place.

He said: “I think it was the right decision. I was holding it all up inside and it was affecting me because I was worried about other people and professionals knowing, thinking I was a weak target due to me struggling with stuff.

“Since I have come out about it, my results have changed, I have been playing much better on the floor and I have a sense of relief.”

Results have improved for the Newbury ace and he’s qualified for a third successive World Championships at Alexandra Palace.

Humphries made headlines at last year’s tournament, beating the likes of Stephen Bunting and reigning champion Rob Cross on the way to the last eight before going out to Michael Smith.

He said: “It’s a great feeling to qualify because after last year and getting to the quarter-final, it felt impossible for me not to be back there again.

“It would have been a failure really because I did so well last year and it would have been a bad end to the season.

“It’s also important for me to get back there so I can prove that it wasn’t a flash in the pan.”

Humphries featured in the Premier League of Darts in March, securing a 6-6 draw with Gerwyn Price.

But apart from that, ‘Cool Hand’ Luke admitted that it was a difficult start to the year.

He said: “It wasn’t great because, apart from the night in the Premier League, it was the worst six months I have ever had as a professional darts player.

“But if you fast forward to the four months after, I have  qualified for the championships earlier than I did last year.

“In the past four months I have been playing a lot better.”

Humphries has now climbed to 47th in the world rankings and said: “I am happy with it and a lot of it has come because of the world championships and the chunk of money with it.

“It’s now a good chance for me to climb even further and  push into the top 32 in the world, which is a dream for everyone.”

The Newbury man will compete in the Players Championship finals, which begin on November 22 in Minehead.

Humphries will face world number one Michael van Gerwen in round one and he said: “It’s a test for me although I am confident I can run him close.

“You have to look at it as an opportunity and if I can beat him then it could change my life again.”

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